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Director: David Cronenberg     Starring: Naomi Watts Viggo Mortensen
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Eastern Promises
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Learn more about Eastern Promises:

Format: DVD
Sku: 206232384
UPC: 025193330024
UPC 14: 00025193330024
Category Keywords: Crime  Deception  Theatrical Release  Thriller  Violence
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Suspense
Every Sin Leaves a Mark.
A russian teenager living in london who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent russian mob family.

"...a movie whose images and implications are likely to stay in your head for a long time.  A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"One of Cronenberg's subtlest, most insinuating pictures, and one of the highlights of the year so far.  Glenn Kenny, Premiere
"A mesmerizing power-punch of a thriller!  Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Cronenberg has, as Guillermo del Toro did in "Pan's Labyrinth," crafted both a drama and a fairy tale...  Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian
"A superbly wrought yarn...[that] instantly takes its place among David Cronenberg's very best films.  Todd McCarthy, Variety

Editor's Note
David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen follow up 2005's A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE with another joint effort in EASTERN PROMISES. The film takes place in rainswept London, with Mortensen effortlessly inhabiting the role of a chauffeur (named Nikolai) for the Russian Mafia. The stoic Nikolai works for restaurant owner and powerful Mafia kingpin Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and his out-of-control son Kirill (Vincent Cassel). Cronenberg adds a few generous splashes of blood-red to his otherwise deeply grey cinematic palette as the movie begins, then allows his central storyline to unfold. Midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) comes crashing into Nikolai's life after discovering the diary of a young Russian woman who dies while giving birth, and her dealings with Semyon, and a subsequent translation of the diary, provide some horrific discoveries. Anna soon finds herself floundering in an alien world full of brutal and bloody violence, and it's not long before her own life hangs perilously in the balance.

Fans of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE will find much to enjoy here, as will longstanding Cronenberg fans who have stuck with the director since his early low-budget horror days. Plenty of themes, ideas, and obsessions that have run right through the director's body of work are present, and he appears to have found a very effective muse in Mortensen. The chief talking points of the film will almost certainly revolve around Mortensen's extended nude sequence and the graphic killings and fight sequences, but EASTERN PROMISES is a weighty piece of work that will undoubtedly attract fans of intelligent, well-crafted thrillers.


Video Features DVD, Widescreen, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Universal
Video Release Date Release Date: 1/6/2009
Video Play Time Running Time: 101 minutes
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 62033300
Video UPC UPC: 00025193330024
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English, French Dubbed
Video Subtitle Available Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review Eastern Promises - DVD Review
By: Chris Cabin DVD Reviews
Published on: 12/18/2007 12:41 AM
We're in London and the streets look like they are owned and operated by Beelzebub himself. The ghosts of the KGB death squads loom in the distance, but the Russian crime syndicate's stranglehold over the hoods and alleys is as strong as ever. Out of one of these decrepit alleyways crawls a 14-year-old girl who walks into a pharmacy only moments before hemorrhaging from the baby girl inside her. Her death is announced at the same time as her daughter's birth. Welcome to the decaying London of David Cronenberg's Eastern the full review
Expert Review Eastern Promises - DVD Review
By: Ed Perkis Cinema Blend DVD Reviews
Published on: 1/3/2008 6:39 AM
Watching Eastern Promises is often a frustrating experience. The performances by all of the leads, Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassell, and Armin Mueller-Stahl, are great and the plot is engrossing. At times, though, it feels like director David Cronenberg is trying to add some additional, deeper, meaning to the story that just doesn't want to stick. the full review
Expert Review Eastern Promises - DVD Review
By: Mule Reviews
Published on: 8/19/2010 11:25 AM
Eastern Promises begins with a birth and a death, coinciding and overlapping. Tatiana (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse), a young Russian girl, stumbles into a pharmacy begging for help. She promptly passes out in a puddle of her own blood. She is rushed to the hospital where the midwife Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts) is one of the medical team working on her. Tatiana does not survive the birth. She leaves behind a child and a diary written in Russian, which Anna tries to use to track down any family the girl might the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Armin Mueller-Stahl
Video Cast Info Naomi Watts
Video Cast Info Viggo Mortensen
Video Cast Info Vincent Cassel
Video Cast Info Carol Spier - Production Designer
Video Cast Info David Cronenberg - Director
Video Cast Info Howard Shore - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Paul Webster - Producer
Video Cast Info Peter Suschitzky - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Rebecca Holmes - Art Director
Video Cast Info Ronald Sanders - Editor
Video Cast Info Stephen Garrett - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Steven Knight - Writer

Professional Reviews

Rolling Stone
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Brilliant film. Brilliant director....Cronenberg brings us face to face with the horror of self." 09/20/2007 p.100

USA Today
3 stars out of 4 -- "EASTERN PROMISES has a compelling story and strong performances....Provocative and engrossing, with an intriguing twist near the conclusion." 09/14/2007 p.5E

New York Times
"Mr. Cronenberg insists on getting under your skin. The result is a movie whose images and implications are likely to stay in your head for a long time." 09/14/2007 p.E8

Entertainment Weekly
"[I]ntriguing....EASTERN PROMISES unpeels like an onion of corruption, with double crosses and deceptions, and ordinary do-gooders in way over their heads. Cronenberg's craftsmanship is seductive." -- Grade: B 10/01/2007 p.60

4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]ynotic and queasy, it delivers the director's trademark traumas in abundance." 11/01/2007 p.147

4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] distinctive new spin on the London crime yarn: a bleak, unsettling thriller that's nightmare made flesh." 11/01/2007 p.46

3 stars out of 5 -- "[Cronenberg] revels in the detail, fascinated by conflicted nostalgia for the old country and the tattoos that ensure a Russian gangster's past is permanently etched into his body..." 11/01/2007 p.61

Sight and Sound
"The continuity between EASTERN PROMISES and Cronenberg's early works is maintained through two themes: violence and the body. The violence in EASTERN PROMISES is at times breathtakingly brutal..." 11/01/2007 57

Ultimate DVD
4 stars out of 5 -- "The excellent Mortensen is utterly mesmeric....A darkly unforgettable crime thriller..." 12/01/2007 p.82

Los Angeles Times
"Expertly realized and gummetal slick, EASTERN PROMISES whirs along with perfect efficiency..." 09/14/2007

Rolling Stone
Ranked #4 in Rolling Stone's "10 Best Movies Of 2007" -- "[A] brutally mesmeric tale of the Russian mob in London." 12/27/2007 p.120

Wall Street Journal
"David Cronenberg's harsh but powerful film conjures up a violent world of bottomless evil, yet holds out, through Anna and Ms. Watts's lovely performance, the possibility of doing good." 05/07/2010

ReelViews 6 of 10
Eastern Promises is the latest effort from acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg, whose recent work has elevated his status from that of a cult figure to someone in the mainstrem. Although the director has re-teamed with his The History of Violence star, Viggo Mortensen, the results aren't as satisfactory. Eastern Promises is a jumbled string of mob-related cliches that mesh into something that's derivative and at times uninteresting...Cronenberg delivers twice when it comes to gore and violence. The movie opens with one of these trademark scenes as a man's throat is slit while he's in a barber's chair. (Encouragement to tip well.) Later, there's a no holds-barred two-on-one between Nikolai and a couple of thugs. What makes this interesting is that Viggo Mortensen is naked for the entire battle. This is one of those rare movies when there's plenty of male nudity as Mortensen literally lets it all hang out. (Hetero men will be glad to know that there are a few bare breasts here and there, although none belongs to Naomi Watts.)...Perhaps the director set the bar so high with The History of Violence (a flawed but at times brilliant motion picture) that there was no way he could equal it with Eastern Promises, but for him to fall so far short is nothing less than criminal. - James Berardinelli

Chicago Sun-Times 10 of 10
"Eastern Promises" is no ordinary crime thriller, just as Cronenberg is no ordinary director. Beginning with low-rent horror films in the 1970s, because he could get them financed, Cronenberg has moved film by film into the top rank of directors, and here he wisely reunites with Mortensen, star of their "A History of Violence" (2005). No, Mortensen is not Russian, but don't even think about the problem of an accent; he digs so deeply into the role you may not recognize him at first...The script is by Steven Knight, author of the powerful "Dirty Pretty Things" (2002), about a black market in body parts. Set in London, it had scarcely a native-born Londoner in it. He's fascinated by the worlds within the London world. Here, too. His lines of morality are more murkily drawn here, as allegiances and loyalties shift, and old emotions turn out to be forgotten but not dead...The actors and the characters merge and form a reality above and apart from the story, and the result is a film that takes us beyond crime and London and the Russian mafia and into the mystifying realms of human nature. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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